Guan Eng: I do not want to be the Prime Minister

Written by Regina William, The Edge  

Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng today said it has never been his ambition nor ever crossed his mind to become the prime minister of Malaysia.

Lim stressed that as far as the DAP and Pakatan Rakyat (PR) are concerned, there would only be one candidate for the post from PR, Parti Keadilan Rakyat’s (PKR) de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

Lim was stunned and dumbfounded when he was asked to comment on a column written by constitutional expert Dr Abdul Aziz Bari in a Malay tabloid Monday which stated that even Lim could be Malaysia’s prime minister.

The professor from Universiti Islam Antarabangsa was quoted saying that maybe a non-Malay or non-Muslim prime minister would be better than a Muslim Malay prime minister.

He went on to say that since Lim has made exceptional achievements in governing Penang, with the lot of Malays and Muslim being looked after, if the achievements could improve further, even Lim could become the prime minister.

Lim, who initially did not say much when asked for comment, later said he only wanted to perform his duties as Penang’s chief minister.

“I already have a lot on my plate and being the chief minister is already so challenging and I am already becoming the centre of attraction including personal attacks so do not link me with such statements.

“My support is fully for Anwar to become the PR prime minister.

“All I wish to do is to make Penang a role model and the best governed state which can be emulated by other PR states,” Lim said at a press conference at his office.

Meanwhile, Lim said later this year the state government would implement a penalty for those who used water excessively.

He said the proposal would be discussed at Penang Water Supply Corporation’s board meeting sometime in March or early April for approval before being presented to the state executive council for approval.

Lim said since 2008, the state government has tried to gently remind Penangites to reduce water usage to no avail with Penangites now topping the national water usage with 285 liters per day each while the national average was 165 liters, with the recommended level by the United Nations at 157 liters.

He said the penalty would be imposed on those who used water excessively while those who conserved water would be rewarded but did not reveal how this would be implemented.

Penangites paid 31 sen for every 35 cubic meters while Singaporeans paid 10 times more at RM3.47 for their piped domestic water supply.

While many states in the country are facing acute water shortage, Penang has enough water supply to last for at least six months without any rain.

Lim said if the state government did not initiate any action now, the situation would only worsen in years to come with the water usage continuously increasing.

At the same press conference, local government committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow announced the endorsement of the executive council for Patahiyah Ismail as the new Penang Island Municipal Council president from March 1 while engineer Ang Aing Thye, who has been with the council since 1978, also will be appointed council secretary from the same date.